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Clash between traditional values, modern culture may be behind teen's death

2007-12-12 13:51:30

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I pretty much agree with what I'm reading in this article.  It is a tragedy and for once CBC did a little bit of digging and investigation into what some other Muslims believe and think about the Hijab and parental issues.

I also do not think this is an Islamic issue, especially considering that the practice of killing your daughter and honor killing has no place in Islam and the Qur'an also backs this fact up by its absence of mention.

The sad reality is that this case is being blown up even more because it involves Muslim, although the crime committed is very heinous, when it is a non-Muslim the same attention is not attracted.

Full Article:

Clash between traditional values, modern culture may be behind teen's death

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 | 9:26 AM ET

A slain Muslim teen whose father has been charged with second-degree murder apparently chafed at the prospect of wearing traditional religious garb, but members of the Islamic community warn against anyone using the tragedy to vilify the head scarf known as the hijab.

Aqsa Parvez, 16, of Mississauga, Ont., was rushed to hospital Monday in critical condition after a man made a 911 call in which he claimed to have killed his daughter. Parvez died late Monday night in hospital.

Aqsa Parvez, 16, of Mississauga, Ont., died after being rushed to hospital Monday in critical condition after a man made a 911 call in which he claimed to have killed his daughter.Aqsa Parvez, 16, of Mississauga, Ont., died after being rushed to hospital Monday in critical condition after a man made a 911 call in which he claimed to have killed his daughter.

Friends have said Parvez clashed with her family about her reluctance to wear the hijab, a traditional garment for all devout Muslim women. Police have not commented on a possible motive in the case and experts caution against jumping to conclusions about the source of any conflict in the family.

"I don't want the public to think that this is really an Islamic issue or an immigrant issue," said Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress. "It is a teenager issue."

Schoolmates who learned Tuesday of Parvez's death say she loved shopping for clothes and didn't want to wear the hijab. They say it became a point of contention with her family.

"She didn't want to go home … to the point where she actually wanted to go to shelters," classmate Ashley Garbutt, 16, told the Toronto Star.

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Muhammad Parvez, 57, made a brief court appearance Wednesday. He was formally charged with second-degree murder and denied bail. Aqsa Parvez's brother, Waqas Parvez, 26, is facing a charge of obstructing police and remains in custody pending a Dec. 14 hearing.

Outside court, another brother, Sean Muhammed Parvez, told reporters he wasn't sure what exactly led to his sister's death.

"We don't know, we're upset," he said, adding that his mother is "sick" because of the ordeal.
The elder Parvez's lawyer said his client has a heart condition and will have to see a doctor before his next court date, which will be on Jan. 29 via video link.

Teenagers have for centuries been doing battle with their parents over a multitude of different issues, so to make differing views about the hijab a central issue of conflict is a mistake, said Atiya Ahsan with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

"[The hijab] has taken on proportions larger than life and that's misplaced," Ahsan said.

"When you come across parents who think that wearing that piece of fabric on their head somehow makes them more spiritual or more [of a] practising Muslim, I think that's a fallacy and it causes needless conflict in the family."

What's more important, said Ahsan, is that a young woman, or any Muslim, adheres to the core values of their faith and what the hijab represents: dignity, protection and grace.

What troubles Ahsan is girls who wear the hijab but also skin-tight or revealing clothing.

"To me that is farther away from the Islamic concept of a hijab than a girl who is not wearing a scarf but wears looser clothing."

'A recipe for trouble'

The word hijab has come to refer to the head covering some Muslim women wear, but has its origins as a term in the Qur'an, referring more to the concept of modesty.

"If you know that your girl is good and she practises her faith, she's not hopping around in what we consider lewd behaviour, then for heaven's sakes you know, let the girl have a chance," Ahsan said.

"If the parents become too strict, that's always a recipe for trouble."

Ausma Khan is the editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, a magazine aimed at readers aged 18 to 24 but also popular with significantly younger girls. Khan said her readers are like teenage girls everywhere, just trying to fit in while figuring out their identity.

'They resent the fact that people think of it as an oppressive symbol.'— Ausma Khan

Most Muslim families are open to letting their children explore their faith in different ways and if a girl is wearing a hijab, chances are she wants to, Khan said.

"It's something they see as very liberating and very empowering and something that expresses their commitment to God," she said.

"It's not something forced on them or that they find oppressive. They resent the fact that people think of it as an oppressive symbol."

Khan said there are some young Muslim women who feel pressure from their family and community to dress more traditionally.

"We've had letters like that and we know those pressures exist, but I think that the debate is probably not as central as this extreme example in Mississauga would make it seem."

It's far from the first time that the clash between modern culture and traditional values has torn apart a Canadian family.

Rajinder Singh Atwal, 49, was found guilty in 2005 of second-degree murder in the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Amandeep, whom he stabbed 17 times in a fit of rage over her relationship with a boy from school.


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